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A Photo, a Poem, a Prayer

38 degrees and a bit of wind. I bundle up and head out to Llano Seco Wildlife Refuge with my two trusty cameras--one for landscape and one for closeups of far away wildlife. I plug in my new heated vest, I pull on my many layers including my new down jacket that covers me to mid thigh. Gloves--one thin pair and the other from Cabella's that let me expose my finger tips. I picture hunters pulling back a trigger in these. Stop that thought!

I find I'm so bundled up that I have a hard time putting my camera backpack on. I stiffly walk out to the back platform. The sky is just starting to lighten and turn a pinkish color, and I hear the Sandhill Cranes distinctive calls. As I approach, I walk more carefully on the weeds instead of the gravel, not wanting to disturb them. A few fly off, but there they are, all lined up in knee deep water getting ready to fly into the rice fields to begin their foraging day.

I find a central place that puts the white-capped mountains behind one large group and start by taking a panorama of the lineup--there must be at least a hundred or so and moving slowly about, the young ones leaping into the air at times, waiting, waiting. I glance back to see if the sun is starting to show behind me. Yes, a bright rim of yellow on the horizon. They are more and more restless, some leaning forward as if to fly off any second. I train my camera on those, ready to start a video. Should have brought my tripod--too hard to hold and wait and wait and wait. Suddenly a few start to fly and I capture a short clip. Then I relax, watch as the sky turns a delicate pink and the snow on the mountains brightens. The scene is a pastel painting. Click. I pause, I drink in the scene.

As the the sun rises, I capture many more images of cranes both close up and far away, but none that takes my breath away like this one. This is my peace. This is my poem and my prayer.

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